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Old 05-04-2016, 04:33 PM   #1
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Trip to British Columbia

I am planing a trip to BC in June. I heard a report that customs was trashing RVs at the border. Has anyone heard this or is is it a rumour.
I feel it is not true. Would like to hear some first hand info.
Jim E
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Old 05-04-2016, 05:06 PM   #2
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Border crossings

We went to Alaska last summer (2015) in our motorhome, crossing north of Seattle a few miles east of the I-5 border crossing, near a town called Sumas, I believe. They asked the usual questions about fruit, meats, guns, etc. They wouldn't let us through until we trashed our uncooked eggs. We had no fruit. Need to know what is on their list of banned products, which is changed often enough to cause confusion at the next border crossing. There is a list on their web-site...

I saw no motorhomes being searched at any border crossings we made during our 4 month travels. We crossed into / out of Canada and USA several times during this trip. Near Haines Alaska, near Tok Alaska, Sumas, as well as Montana on our return.

I'm sure you can trigger a search by saying the wrong things to the people there, but I believe it's a non issue.

Have a great trip!

Mike
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:21 PM   #3
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Went north thru the Sumas crossing in March. Wont take that crossing again. Very tight getting the mirrors thru, like mabe 2" on one side and 3 on the other.
Stay on I-5, and go thru the Peace arch crossing.
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Old 05-05-2016, 02:21 AM   #4
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Hi Jim,

A big "pre-welcome" to B.C.
96 Wideglide is correct regarding the narrow gates at Sumas. However we have been through several times with no issues. Just watch your mirrors.
About 10 miles west of Sumas is the newly renovated Aldergrove/Lynden crossing. Also fairly narrow gates but easily passable. We live @ 3 miles from that crossing and use it all the time.
Generally speaking, the Sumas and Aldergrove crossings are far less busy than the "Peace Arch" or the "Pacific" crossing which is the main truck crossing.

Both countries have their various restrictions as to entry requirements. Just check online.
We have found that more often than not, after the initial contact with customs, they either just wave you through or come aboard for a quick look and that is it.
Oh, and don't forget your passport.
Have a safe trip,
Good luck, Iver.
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Old 05-05-2016, 04:58 AM   #5
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It looks like I will be crossing at Pacific as I have reservations at Pacific Border RV Park for jun 15 before going to Campbell River. Do I go with the cars or trucks.
Jim E
BC bound
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Old 05-05-2016, 07:47 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 96 Wideglide View Post
Went north thru the Sumas crossing in March. Wont take that crossing again. Very tight getting the mirrors thru, like mabe 2" on one side and 3 on the other.
Stay on I-5, and go thru the Peace arch crossing.
I just had to buy some mirror part$ due to chrome peeling ...... ya sure as hell dont want to damage those purdy mirror$........ Wow$a!
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Old 05-05-2016, 08:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjim8499 View Post
It looks like I will be crossing at Pacific as I have reservations at Pacific Border RV Park for jun 15 before going to Campbell River. Do I go with the cars or trucks.
Jim E
BC bound
Jim,

Try to avoid Pacific, or the truck crossing, if you can....the Canucks (us) have put in a very windy and narrow approach with too many tight lanes 200 feet before the border kiosk....Peach Arch (with their stupid speed bumps) is by far the better one, and there is easy access via 8th Avenue to where you need to go!

Leave your guns at home, don't bring any fresh food and pack your passports!



Drop by if you're in the neighbourhood...I live 3 miles from the border...give me a private email for details.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjim8499 View Post
It looks like I will be crossing at Pacific as I have reservations at Pacific Border RV Park for jun 15 before going to Campbell River. Do I go with the cars or trucks.
Jim E
BC bound
Note: It would be helpful if your rig information were provided. Without it, some of the feedback may not be relevant.

As Chef Guy stated, avoid using the Pacific Hwy truck crossing. Depending upon your rig it may be challenging negotiating the lanes at that crossing. A better choice would be to cross at the Aldergrove Crossing (north of Lynden, WA), about 30 minutes east, or the Peace Arch crossing, about 7 minute drive to the west. Both are easily negotiated by any rig. I use both frequently with my 43 ft MADP.

I live a short 28 blocks north of the Pacific Border RV Park and we've used it a couple of times when arriving home and needing a place to park our coach for a night or two. If you have a pull-thru space reserved, contact them and make sure they do not have you in space 72. Though it is a pull-thru in name, the three and posts along the exit end make it impossible for a long rig to drive out and turn onto the roadway. I had to back out rig out and with cars parked along the edge of the roadway it was both difficult and dangerous. Other than that, it's a nice park, but expensive, as are all the RCV parks in this area.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:23 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by bigjim8499 View Post
I am planing a trip to BC in June. I heard a report that customs was trashing RVs at the border. Has anyone heard this or is is it a rumour.
I feel it is not true. Would like to hear some first hand info.
Jim E
For whatever reason some folks like to make things like border crossing sound dramatic. Usually they are not.

Living just a 4.5 mi. north of the Peace Arch Border Crossing my DW and I cross both ways multiple times each year at any of the three border crossings in this area. We cross on our motorcycle, in our car and in our motorhome and it is seldom more than a couple of quick questions and we're on our way. Occasionally it will be a little more like or last trip south in January when they did a 5 minute "Agricultural Inspection" or our trip into the US just south of Winnipeg Manitoba two years ago when they confiscated a cup of rice. Both these were at the US portion of the border crossing. I have yet to have anything more than the few questions crossing from the US into Canada.

Basically, I believe that the majority of "issues" people experience are due to nervousness or attitude that makes the border authorities nervous.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:26 AM   #10
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It looks like I will be crossing at Pacific as I have reservations at Pacific Border RV Park for jun 15 before going to Campbell River. Do I go with the cars or trucks.
Jim E
BC bound
Go through with the cars. Pacific crossing is the one I use . Keep to the left if possible, not the Nexus lane but next to it. Yes the booths and lanes are tight , but I manage at 58' length . Are you going to be on Vancouver island for some time ?
Have you checked out Washington State Ferry's rates, I think they offer a mid week special for over length , that is better than the cost of BC Ferries.
I'll see if I can post a Google earth photo.
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Old 05-06-2016, 01:43 PM   #11
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Thanks for the Info. I will be at ripple rock for 6 weeks
jim E
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Old 05-06-2016, 03:06 PM   #12
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We drove through the Sumas crossing from CA back into the US last summer coming back from AK. I didn't see them tearing anyone's RV apart. As for me, after being asked a lot of questions and revealing I had just bought some beautiful ripe tomatoes at a large produce farm, they took them all. No search, just sent a guy out to ask for them. He didn't even come inside.
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Old 05-06-2016, 03:43 PM   #13
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I live in Lynden, WA, and cross the border frequently. I have never had either Canadian or US border staff "trash" anything. Yes, I have had them do a "secondary inspection" inside the vehicle on a couple of occasions, but they were very careful not to damage anything.

The best tip I can give you is don't be a smart ass! Answer all questions politely and concisely. Avoid joking comments or anything that sounds like a complaint. They get that crap all day, every day and quickly reach the point where they have little tolerance for it.

When you pull up, greet the inspector politely; "Good morning/afternoon, how are you?" works just fine. When asked whether you have alcohol, tobacco or firearms aboard, answer simply "yes" or "no," as appropriate. If they need more information they will ask. They may also ask if you have a substantial amount of cash with you...$10,000, is the amount, I think. Again, a simple "yes" or "no" will suffice. Something like "don't I wish" does not answer the question directly and will probably get you sent to a secondary inspection. It is little things like that which make a difference in how things go.

When entering Canada, know that they are very strict about firearms possession. Leave all firearms at home is the safest policy. Americans do NOT have a "right to bear arms" in Canada. If you think you do, you will set yourself up for trouble.

Should you have a legitimate reason for bringing a rifle or shotgun into Canada (for a planned hunting trip, for example), you will need to complete and file all the necessary paperwork well in advance of crossing the border. BTW, "self-defense" is not a legitimate reason to bring a firearm into Canada; at least to the first-line inspector you will be dealing with. And, save yourself a LOT of trouble and don't even try to bring a handgun into Canada.

Do realize that both Canadian and US inspectors have access to a LOT of computerized information on you and will already know more about you than you might think. Don't play games with what you tell them. I once was asked if I had a firearm with me and I replied, "no." The inspector then asked "Why not? You have a concealed weapons permit in Washington." Obviously, it was on the computer. My reply was "I do, but it is not valid in Canada." He was testing me and, I suspect, any other answer would have triggered an inspection of the vehicle.

The border staff on either side have a tough job to do and if you make it easy and pleasant for them to do it, you will have little trouble.

TJ
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Old 06-26-2016, 09:13 PM   #14
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Sumas/Abbotsford Crossing

Quote:
Originally Posted by 96 Wideglide View Post
Went north thru the Sumas crossing in March. Wont take that crossing again. Very tight getting the mirrors thru, like mabe 2" on one side and 3 on the other.
Stay on I-5, and go thru the Peace arch crossing.
Totally agree with you Ben. If my DW hadn't yelled stop, I would of taken out the passenger mirror. Finally got through without a scrape. It must be a 9-9 1/2 foot wide lane. Not fun. Will try a different crossing next time.

Coming back into the US today was a piece of cake. Dedicated RV lane, 12' wide.

Normal questions, no hassles.
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